Spain kick off their qualifying campaign for the 2022 Qatar World Cup on Thursday, with Luis Enrique’s side looking to book their place in the finals in December next year.
La Roja have featured in 15 of the 21 World Cups to date and they start as strong favourites to emerge from a group containing Georgia, Kosovo, Sweden and Thursday’s opponents Greece.
Enrique sprung a few surprises when his squad for the upcoming clashes was announced, with only six players from Spain’s ‘big three’ clubs involved.
Here’s how his starting XI could look as they take on John van ‘t Schip’s team.
David de Gea (GK) – The Manchester United man has been absent from club duty since the birth of his daughter, though he’s been named in Enrique’s 24-man squad so is likely to be given the nod.
Pedro Porro (RB) – Received his maiden call-up to the senior side after a fine season with Sporting CP and could be handed his debut.
Sergio Ramos (CB) – Has spent a lot of time on the sidelines in recent months, though Enrique is clearly keen to have him around the squad. He’ll be expecting to feature having been called up.
Eric Garcia (CB) – Beginning to flourish at Manchester City this season and is emerging as a real top centre-back talent. Will be hoping to add to his four senior caps earned so far.
Jordi Alba (LB) – Has started to come under pressure in recent years having been Spain’s number on left-back for so long, though the shirt is still his for now.
Rodri (CM) – Having struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League he’s beginning to find his feet at Manchester City and is playing easily the best football of his fledgling career in England.
Koke (CM) – An almost ever-present for Atletico Madrid this season and will be a shoo-in for pretty much every midfield selected by Enrique.
Sergio Canales (CM) – Wasn’t handed his senior debut until the age of 28, despite representing Spain at every possible youth level. Now that his first cap – bagged in 2019 – is under his belt, he’s going from strength to strength.
Ferran Torres (RW) – Starting to show glimpses of what he can do when given the chance in a Manchester City shirt. Is highly thought of by those involved in the national team setup.
Alvaro Morata (ST) – One ‘weak’ area among Spain’s current generation of stars is at centre forward. Alvaro Morata is the best option available, although Gerard Moreno will have something to say about that.
Mikel Oyarzabal (LW) – Hasn’t been able to nail down a place in the national team since making his debut in 2016, but he’s enjoying a superb campaign with Real Sociedad.